Foreign nationals are permitted to work in the United States under certain circumstances. Employment authorization may be permanent (lawful permanent resident status) or temporary.
Nonimmigrant (Temporary) Work Visas
There are many different types of nonimmigrant (temporary) visas and statuses that allow work while in the United States. Some of the most common are as follows:
- H-1B status permits work in certain specialty occupations, generally requiring an undergraduate degree (either in the United States or its equivalent in another country). There is a strict numerical cap on the number of H-1Bs granted each year.
- TN status allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in certain occupations.
- O-1 status allows a person with extraordinary ability in their field to pursue the same type of work in the United States.
- L-1 status allows a person certain employees of foreign companies to work for their US affiliates.
- J-1 status permits people to work in certain types of exchange and training programs.
Permanent Residence Based on Employment
Employment-based permanent residence is divided into five categories:
- First preference (EB-1) is for people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding researchers or professors; and certain multinational managers and executives.
- Second preference (EB-2) is for members of professions with advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability.
- Third preference (EB-3) is for most other skilled workers or professionals.
- Fourth preference (EB-4) is for certain religious workers.
- Fifth preference (EB-5) is for certain immigrant investors.
Each immigrant and nonimmigrant category has very specific requirements. If you think you qualify for employment-based immigration of any type, it is wise to consult an experienced immigration lawyer to evaluate your particular circumstances in detail.
For more information about these options and a full evaluation of your eligibility, please email or call (212) 988-5806 to schedule a consultation.